I let out a gasp under my breath as we walked in. Every piece of furniture here was gorgeous. If the furniture could speak it would have used cliche marketing words like "supple leather" and "impeccable detailing."
But alas, the only sofabed they had was in the basement, and it was covered in a hideous green and yellow floral print. The only words this one said were, "Grandma's gonna take a nap."
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On the way out, I passed a beautiful chrome Art Deco floor lamp. I didn't dare look at the price tag, even though I could easily imagine it sitting in the corner of the bedroom, where I would now be
Across the street from Thomasville was another Jennifer Convertibles. We had to run across 8 lanes of traffic, so naturally, I assumed this was for a reason. The ideal sofabed had to be here. It just had to. We had risked our lives for it. Right?
This store was much larger than the first with separate leather and fabric departments. As we bypassed the leather department, the saleswoman tried to make it sound ironic and funny that we weren't interested in leather, even though I was wearing a leather jacket. She laughed so hard at her own joke that she almost fell over.
We kept walking.
Larry quickly caught the attention of a chipper saleswoman in their fabric department.
"Can I help you guys today?"
"Yes. I need a sofabed. Something small, but with a full sized bed. Show me what you have...." he said, before adding, "...and nothing disgusting like this," he said, pointing to a nearby sectional.
And by "this," he meant:
"Okay," said the saleswoman as she began to walk out from behind the desk. She began to point at sofabeds scattered all over the sales floor.
"I have that one over there...and that one over there...and this one...and that one way over by the window..."
Our heads turned in tandem. Two kittens following a laser.
The options were pretty much the same as in the first Jennifer Convertables, but this time we found one we liked. It was, of course, beige, but we were reaching the critical desperation point. The sun was setting and we were "close." I shrugged my shoulders. It seemed a little too "beach house" for me, but I kept my mouth shut.
"I can see if I have that available for delivery," offered the saleswoman.
I crossed my fingers behind my back and noticed one sofa bed which featured something that would make any house guest reconsider their stay: an inflatable mattress.
"Yeah, you gotta blow it up, too. Alrightie then, goodnight!"
A quick check of availability in the computer and we were back at zero.
We strolled out of the fabric department, depressed and frustrated. Larry thought that maybe leather might work, cat claws be damned.
"Can I help you guys?" asked the saleswoman who had almost fallen over earlier.
"I need a sofabed. Show me around." (Larry would later explain that salespeople enjoy customers who are abrupt and order them around, as if gives them a sense of purpose. I think I would have hidden from Larry.)
I cringed when Larry asked the saleswoman if there was a "puncture proof" leather.
"All leather is the same thickness," she said.
One leather couch caught my eye, because it was such a mess. It had the type of leather that scratched very easily. You should make a permanent mark with your fingernail. Naturally, this floor model was full of scratches, names, and probably a few curse words, too.
Larry pointed this out to the sales woman who shook her head violently.
"No, no. You don't want that," she said. "If you spill something on it, it leaves a permanent stain."
So...it scratches if you look at it too long, and will probably leave a stain if someone farts on it. Why is this for sale again? Shouldn't this be back at the clearance center?
After running back across the street, Larry was stopped by a shady looking guy handing out flyers for some ultra-budget furniture store.
"We're not that desperate," I said as I crumpled it up into a ball.
Our next stop was Raymour and Flannigan. I thought it was funny that we drove all the way out there when there's one in our neighborhood. I didn't say that to Larry since he was pissed off enough to abandon me in the parking lot.
I ran for the front door and opened it. Cinematic rock music blared over the speakers - the kind they play just before a happy ending in a cliche romantic comedy. I took this as a sign that we'd finally find something here. After all, Larry's sister Patty found her perfect sofa bed in Raymour & Flannigan, so maybe it was meant to be - at least for Larry's sake. I was beyond superstitious at this point. I was willing to connect the dots any way I could. I just wanted the torture to end.
You know the deal by now: sofabed, fullsized bed, nothing fugly, overpriced or gigantic, yadda, yadda.
The salesman slowly led us to his sofa bed section. And when I say "slowly", it was like he was out for a Sunday stroll, hands behind his back like an old man. I wanted to give him a little shove to see if he'd fall over.
Sofabed number one was too wide, at 82 inches.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckety, fuck, fuck," I sang in my head.
"Do you have anything smaller?" asked Larry.
He led us back to another section of the store where we found five sofabeds of differing shapes, sizes and colors. Most were easy to dismiss by their color or fabric.
Larry gave me a look that said, "Why didn't he take us here in the first place?"
I quickly forced myself into the transaction once we found what looked to be a contender. It was a light teal sofabed with two throw pillows. I was impressed with the pillows, as they were tastefully done with a leaf motif. There was no leopard print or gold to scowl at as in Jennifer Convertibles.
"How wide is this?" I asked, knowing that we had about 80 inches to play with.
"76 inches," he said, giving us time to think about it.
WE'LL TAKE IT I yelled in my head.
"Would you like me to see if it's in stock?"
We followed him to the computer terminal, glancing at each other as if we'd just picked out the perfect kitten to adopt. As he clicked away, I crossed my fingers, then looked back at the sofa bed. Another family was gathering around it. I wanted to shoo them away.
This one is taken. Scram! Go on now!
Once it was confirmed to be in stock, the salesman went into detail about the other services they offer.
As the salesman talked up their "Protection Plan" I decided to ask about Scotch Guard. You see, back in 1997, if you ordered a couch, they had Scotch Guard protection as an added feature, to protect it from stains and spills.
I was quickly reminded that we are in 2008.
"Oh, no they don't do that anymore," said the salesman. "It's built right into the fabric."
I tried to save myself by saying, "It's been a long time since I've shopped for furniture."
But we knew we wanted this sofa bed, so it was back to business. When it comes to haggling, I regress into a shy, 8 year old boy. Larry fears no one, so this was fun for him.
After whittling down the price by talking to the store manager, it was time to attack the other charges that were piling up.
"How much is delivery?"
What about to Nassau?
"I think you have a store in Manhattan. How much would they charge?"
"Delivery is delivery."
Since I worked in a furniture store for two years, I felt compelled to interject, telling Larry that all the furniture likely comes from the same warehouse. And then I realized how this would make me a traitor of sorts, so I kept my mouth shut, otherwise I'd be sleeping on the couch once it got delivered.